February is known for celebrating love and chocolate — two wonderful components to a fulfilled life. Unfortunately, our society tends to encircle both chocolate and love with feelings of lust, sin, indulgence, and seduction.
It is common in our culture to entangle our emotions with food, sadly eroding our trust and connection with our body. Too often, we tell ourselves that a food like chocolate is something we should only consume on occasion. That it's only for a certain time of year. Or, we need to choose the healthiest form of chocolate — think extra dark. When we continuously suppress the innate desire to partake, mental tension increases and our cravings become unbearable.
A craving is a great or eager desire — a yearning. Contrary to what our diet-centric society tells us — yearning for a good piece of chocolate or a warm, fudgy brownie is nothing to be ashamed of. Chocolate isn't sinful either. It's just chocolate and it tastes good.
Learning to honor our cravings and avoid conforming to societal pressures to vilify or glorify a certain food takes practice. This process is also extremely unique for each individual as we all find different foods satisfying.
A smaller portion of a high-quality chocolate can be more satisfying than handfuls of a standard piece of chocolate candy.
You might find this to be the case as well if you find yourself with a heaping pile of Valentine's Day candy wrappers and still looking for more. Your stomach might be physically full, but you are not satisfied and will likely continue grazing until you are or until you are uncomfortably full.
A rich piece of chocolate is one of the most blissful and sweetest pleasures in life. To deprive yourself of such an experience is tragic. Additionally, to think that dark chocolate is the only acceptable form is as well also tragic.
One study published the journal Heart showed that those who eat any type of chocolate on a regular basis have an 11 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23 percent lower risk of having a stroke.
While many correlations can be made from this study, perhaps the biggest benefit to eating chocolate is that it makes us feel happy. Enjoying food is a big part of enjoying life, so don't stress when those cravings come. Choose high-quality chocolate confections and savor your chocolate-filled moments.